Howdy all you Supercultists out there on the interwebz! I’m Bad Movie Professor Cameron Coker (BS in “Monster Movies” with a minor in “Robot Dopplegangers”) and I’ll be posting my hype-tacular speeches every week along with some long lost speeches from past Supercult Shows!
This week it’s a good ol’ monster mash in Tokyo with Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla!
Godzilla vs. MechaGodzilla write-up
Strange things are happening in Okinawa. A priestess has a terrifying vision of a new monster destroying a city, an extra-terrestrial metal is discovered in a cave, and an ominous prophecy is uncovered. Things only get worse when a Godzilla doppelganger begins to wreak havoc throughout Japan. Can the real King of the Monsters defeat his equally powerful robotic twin? Can the people of Japan discover the mystery behind the new cosmic foe? The radioactive Kaiju king himself is pitted against the Mechanical Titan of Terror in Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla!
Ah, the good old days when Godzilla films read like the headliner for a WWE event! Released in 1974, Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is the 14th film in the Toho motion picture company Godzilla franchise and one of the last films in the so-called “Shōwa series” characterized by a relatively light-hearted tone and a shift from Godzilla acting as a grim symbol of the atomic bomb to a friendlier, more playful antihero. The Shōwa series of Godzilla films begins with the original Godzilla film in 1954 and stretches 30 years until the reboot in 1984 and introduces many of Godzilla’s most popular and enduring villains and side characters such as King Ghidorah, Gigan, Mechagodzilla and Godzilla’s son Minilla. However, the Shōwa series also has some of the lowest production values, the cheesiest special effects, the most inconsistent Godzilla designs, and the most idiotic plots. Shōwa series Godzilla films routinely involve over-the-top alien invaders, inconsequential human characters, and a series of hilarious and wire-tastic monster fights.
Are you excited yet? You should be!
Nothing quite matches the nostalgic feeling of watching several grown men in rubber lizard suits fighting and flying around on clearly visible fishing line in a giant cardboard version of Tokyo city. There’s also nothing like watching the human characters attempt to explain to themselves and the audience that the entire giant monster conflict is being orchestrated by evil rubber masked space aliens from “Planet X” with a straight face!
Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla is notable, not just for breathing new life into a franchise that seemed to be fueled by increasingly lower production values, but also for it’s place within Godzilla history. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was produced as Godzilla’s 20th Anniversary film, was the first to introduce Godzilla’s robotic arch-nemesis who would go on to become one of Godzilla’s most popular and re-occurring villains. The film was also the last film to feature the monster Anguirus, Godzilla’s spiny lizard ally, and the only film to feature King Shisa, a new monster inspired by the actual “shîsâ” lion-dog guardian statues in Okinawa that are meant to ward off evil spirits. Both of these kaiju were retired until their long-awaited return 30 years later in the fighting game turned cinema free-for-all that was Godzilla: Final Wars in 2004. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla was also the last Godzilla film directed by Jun Fukuda (who had also directed Godzilla vs Gigan (1972), Godzilla vs. the Sea Monster (1966), Son of Godzilla (1967), the infamous Godzilla vs. Megalon (1973), and about 30 other films that didn’t feature Godzilla that nobody cares about) and the last film scored by Masaru Sato, a veteran of the Godzilla franchise as well as the composer for Akira Kurosawa’s masterpiece, Seven Samurai.
When the film was released in the United States it was renamed “Godzilla vs. The Bionic Monster”. However, when Universal Studios, the company responsible for “The Six Million Dollar Man” and its spin-off “The Bionic Woman”, threatened to sue the American distributor due to the similarities in title the film was quickly re-titled Godzilla as the Cosmic Monster instead.
Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla has become popular among fans of the franchise for its exotic music, colorful special effects, and entertaining monster fights while the film’s fairly complex (if still alien-laden) plot stands out among lesser films in the series. Outside the circle, however, public reception is mixed at best. Godzilla vs. Mechagodzilla has a 6.3 on IMDB and a 67% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it will always hold a place in my heart as one of the best bad Godzilla movies of all time!
Nostalgic, perhaps needlessly complex, but undeniably goofy and entertaining, it’s a welcome addition to the Godzilla film pantheon and a fantastic new member of the Supercult library of classics.
It’s time to put the Monster to the Metal!
The Supercult show is proud to present Godzilla vs Mechagodzilla!